NORFOLK, Va. — As election results from the 2022 midterms pour in nationwide, party control of Congress is hanging in the balance after Election Day.
Throughout this year, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin hit the campaign trail both statewide and nationally to stump for fellow Republicans in competitive races. Some of the candidates he supported either lost or their races are too early to call.
Youngkin's nationwide travels took him anywhere from Arizona, to stump for the controversial gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, to Georgia, where Gov. Brian Kemp ran for re-election.
In his backyard, Youngkin campaigned for several House candidates, including Jen Kiggans in Virginia's 2nd Congressional District, Yesli Vega in the 7th District and Hung Cao in the 10th District.
Kiggans won the election against Democratic U.S. Rep. Elaine Luria, but Vega and Cao lost to Democratic incumbents Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton, respectively.
13News Now Reporter Allison Bazzle spoke with Youngkin Wednesday morning about his thoughts on the midterm election results, Republican losses in Virginia and former President Donald Trump. The following represents that Q&A, though some responses were edited for style and clarity.
On national election results
What do the results from election night mean for the Republican Party? You supported Jen Kiggans, and people across the country, such as Kari Lake and Brian Kemp.
Youngkin: "Well, there are still some votes to be counted in some races, so we will withhold assessment of those. Broadly speaking, I was really pleased to see Jen Kiggans win. And of course, the races in the 7th and the 10th were going to be tight and tough races, and Jennifer Wexton and Abigail Spanberger ran good races. We had really strong candidates and I think that is what the election should be about: putting up strong candidates and letting the voters speak.
I think we are going to end up with divided government in Washington, and we have had divided government in Virginia and we delivered. I think it is time for elected leaders to put the campaign behind now and go to work in order to bring people together and deliver results. That is what voters are expressing: a strong desire for results and recognizing that folks are hurting. There are concerns, real concerns around the kitchen table and it is time to get to work to address those.
That is the big lesson I learned last year: on November the 3rd, we went to work to deliver for Virginians, we have divided government in Virginia and we were able to do exactly that. I think it is now everybody else’s turn to deliver for the folks that elected them."
On Virginia candidates in midterm election
You’ve said, many times, the path to the House majority runs through Virginia. What’s your response to Kiggans’ victory, as well as the losses of Democrats Yesli Vega and Hung Cao?
Youngkin: "In order for Republicans to take control in the House, we needed to flip seats and that is exactly what we felt would happen in the 2nd. Jen Kiggans ran a super campaign and voters turned out and really expressed a view to make a change there.
As I said, Abigail Spanberger and Congresswoman Wexton ran strong races. They were tough races and I think that the road to the majority continues to run through Virginia. I think the 2nd is going to be a critically important seat in order to add to that path to the majority and that will end up with divided government in Washington.
As I said, that means it is incumbent on everybody to go to work to get things done. That is what voters want, that is what they expressed in Virginia last year, and I think that is what they expect out of their elected leaders.”
On potential Trump campaign
Several news reports say former President Donald Trump is set to launch a 2024 presidential campaign in the coming weeks. Would you support him?
Youngkin: “Let me begin with, the former president is going to do whatever the former president decides to do. I continue to be very focused on Virginia and being the best governor I can be.
The final toll from the election yesterday hasn’t even been fully tabulated yet. I just encourage everybody to keep their focus on what is happening right now. We have to finalize a number of elections and we have to decide what the final majorities look like in Washington. This is where everybody’s focus should be.
We are working hard in Virginia to get ready for our next legislative session that starts in January. We have a big agenda and it is time to do the work and it is time to get to work for the people. That is where I think everybody’s focus needs to be right now.”
On Virginia elections process
Anything else you'd like to mention?
Youngkin: “I was very pleased that the way that the Virginia election system worked. Everybody who needed to vote and was allowed to vote had a chance to vote. I think the election process was tabulated quickly and fairly.
It was a lot of work, it was some tough challenges with some old systems along the way. But I want to congratulate our election process and all the people that make it work.”